Photo: Provided by Jidenna Ozoh (L-R Denzel Hunter-Shaw, Tevin Holiday, and Jidenna Ozoh)
As Atlanta continues to draw more musicians from various states to get a taste of the hip-hop scene, entrepreneurs are also becoming quite common in the city. Freelance writers, photographers, videographers, and even fashion designers are starting their own businesses. In fact, according to WalletHub.com, the state of Georgia ranks #3 overall in the U.S. for the best state to start a business. One-third of the founders of Project Nawf, Jidenna Ozoh, is no exception. The 20-year-old Georgia State University college student, majoring in media entrepreneurship, came up with the idea of the company in 2016 while attending Collins High School. Following graduation in 2017, Ozoh teamed up with his friends Tevin Holiday and Denzel Hunter-Shaw to release Project Nawf to the masses in Fall 2018.
What is Project Nawf? Project Nawf is an urban-fashion wear brand that integrates hip-hop and multimedia. “We (Tevin Holiday and Jidenna Ozoh) grew up in the Nawf our whole lives and realized that many states are influenced by Atlanta fashion and music. The fashion scene is still on the rise in Atlanta and as Andre 3000 said, we’re trying to show the world ‘The South’s Got Something to Say,’” he said. Selling over 400 t-shirts so far, Ozoh shares how the clothing brand came about, his thoughts on entrepreneurship, and more.
Check it out below:
1) How did Project Nawf come about?
The idea of Project Nawf began my senior year of high school. Migos started to get a lot of hype, and I watched as the public was taken aback by North Atlanta, gravitating to the north, and recognizing my community. Tevin helped me start the clothing line. We went to the same high school, but he graduated five years before me in 2012. We met through mutual friends within the school’s sports programs. I met Denzel my freshman year at Georgia State University and added him to our collective. I had this motivation from God to use my capabilities to introduce my community as an urban trend through fashion.
2) What does the name Project Nawf mean?
Project Nawf represents where we are from; the Nawf (meaning North), like the Migos, said in the song “Bad & Boujee.” Nawf is slang for North as Souf is slang for South. A southern colloquialism to be precise. We figured the name would allow us to manifest into different businesses such as turning Project Nawf into a media company.
3) What was the design process like for Project Nawf?
Tevin, Denzel, and I collaborate on concepts and ideas for new designs. We are our own designers, so the art we make reflects our vision and artistic perspective. As a collective, we made something special because we share the same vision with fashion. They’re also great businessmen.
Photo: (L-R Denzel Hunter-Shaw and Jidenna Ozoh)
4) What celebrities have rocked your clothing line?
All of the Migos (Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff) rocked our gear. Lil Yachty’s brother, J.Bands, Skippa The Flippa, YRN Mango Foo, Migo Domingo, Bali Baby, Mike Holston (Tarzann), and Made in TYO.
5) How does Atlanta influence the brand?
Atlanta influences Project Nawf tremendously because it is the root and foundation of our brand. With Project Nawf, we aim to be the representation of Atlanta to the world with our designs such as the Spaghetti junction and legendary MC’s from Atlanta tee. The city is just a big hub of creativity, and there are so many artists in the fashion scene here that are very underrated. We’re glad to be a part of the movement in Atlanta and aim to make Atlanta one of the biggest fashion entities in the world like New York and Los Angeles as well as push the city as a staple in the arts.
6) What new pieces are the founders of Project Nawf working on?
Currently, we’re finalizing our new collection that is set to release in a few weeks. The designs reflect sentiments God inspired in us, so we’re excited to share that with the world. We’re also working on a web series as well.
Photo: (L-R Tevin Holiday and Jidenna Ozoh)
7) What has been your biggest lesson so far as an entrepreneur?
My biggest lesson is that as an entrepreneur, you have to work hard daily if you want to continue to work for yourself. I also realized my potential for entrepreneurship, and I encourage others to take this path.
8) What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to them would be to take risks and allow your brand to be a representation of who you are in your vision. I would also say that you must be consistent and learn how to network, especially living in a digital age. Stay true to yourself and be committed because entrepreneurship is a lonesome journey because nobody is standing over you; pushing you.
Project Nawf merchandise can be found at www.ProjectNawf.com.